Michail Antonio ‘baptises’ West Ham’s new stadium
The Hammers Premier League bow at the London Stadium ended with a 1-0 win over Bournemouth on Sunday, Michail Antonio's heading the winner.
West Ham's Premier League bow at London's former Olympic Stadium ended with a 1-0 win over Bournemouth on Sunday afternoon courtesy of Michail Antonio's 85th-minute header.
West Ham have moved into their new ground, now known as the London Stadium, after leaving Upton Park last season and Antonio's late goal made their first domestic fixture at the ground one to remember.
In the day's other game, Cristhian Stuani netted a stunning brace as Middlesbrough beat local rivals Sunderland 2-1 to register a first victory since securing promotion from the Championship.
“We just deserved it. It was difficult, but we knew it would be. We were missing our best players”, said Bilić, who was notably without Dimitri Payet and Andy Carroll due to injury. “We were pushing and wanted it more. We're delighted to end the first game at this beautiful stadium with a win”.
The Hammers beat Slovenian Europa League opponents NK Domzale 3-0 in their first match at their new home, but Bilić's side were narrowly beaten 2-1 at Chelsea in their opening league fixture last Monday. They procured the only chance of note in the first half against Eddie Howe's Bournemouth, with visiting goalkeeper Artur Boruc obliged to parry at his near post from Enner Valencia.
Josh King threatened to spoil West Ham's big day with a long-range strike early in the second half, drawing am acrobatic, full-stretch save from home goalkeeper Adrián. Bournemouth lost midfielder Harry Arter in the 77th minute after he was shown a second yellow card for holding back Cheikhou Kouyaté, having earlier been booked for dissent.
The locals exploited their numerical advantage with five minutes to play when Gökhan Töre lifted an inviting cross to the back post and Antonio flew in to head home from close range. King had a late chance to snatch a point for Bournemouth with a smooth chest-and-volley, but Adrián denied him again.
“It was a tight game with few chances”, Bournemouth manager Howe told Sky Sports. “We were much improved in the second half and thought it was our game for the taking. But for one bit of a lack of discipline, I think we would have won it”.
Earlier, Uruguayan striker Stuani scored twice to earn Middlesbrough victory at Sunderland in the northeast rivals' first top-flight encounter since January 2009. Stuani put Aitor Karanka's Boro ahead with a glorious 25-yard strike in the 13th minute at the Stadium of Light before finishing off a neat team move on the cusp of half-time.
Sunderland replied through Patrick van Aanholt in the 71st minute, but Boro, promoted from the Championship in May, prevailed to record their first top-flight win over the Black Cats in over 10 years.
“It's always important to win, especially in a derby and for our crowd who have been waiting for this moment for a long time, so I'm pleased for the players and the crowd”, said Karanka. “I told the players they would start at 150 percent, but with players of the quality of Cristhian Stuani we were able to score a first goal like that, which opened up the game”.
Sunderland have not won a league game in August in six years and having lost 2-1 at Manchester City on the season's opening day, they are still awaiting a first win under new manager David Moyes. “We played well,' said the Scot. “We had a great level of intensity, but ran out (of energy) with 10 minutes to go. We are working really hard. Everybody knows we are short and we will get the players”.
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